Show That Resume Gap Who’s Boss
Most military spouses are no strangers to resume gaps. Frequent moves, taking time to get certified or licensed from state-to-state, raising families, and overseas deployments all play a part. The key is navigating those gaps in a creative way that showcases your skills and convinces employers that you’re a great hire.
The Elephant in the Room
Tackle your work history gaps head-on in a cover letter. “As a military spouse, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with people from diverse backgrounds. I’ve contributed to my community by organizing and marketing a variety of fundraisers and taking courses in Excel and QuickBooks to enhance my knowledge.” This communicates that you’re a go-getter who has used time away from the workplace productively, and employers love it.
A gap of a few months shouldn’t be a problem if you use years instead of months when attaching dates to your work history. However, you should explain longer periods away from the workplace. For example, if you’ve been raising a family you could turn it into a bullet point that speaks to efficiency and multi-tasking:
• Direct a busy household with four active children attending two schools. Manage family budget, bill paying, home repairs and upkeep, schedules and transportation.
Military One Source recommends using section titles like “History” or “Experience” in place of “Professional Experience” or “Employment History.”
Organize by Skill Set
If you’re looking at significant employment gaps, a chronological resume may not be for you. Instead, bring your skills to the forefront by showcasing them in a functional resume, highlighting your skills and successes under categories that relate to the types of jobs you’re seeking. Your organizational, administrative and planning skills are on display every time you’ve had to plan a move, secure lodging, and find doctors, schools and networks in a new community.
• Annual Joe Smith Memorial Golf Outing: Organized, marketed and promoted golf tournament and silent auction, raising $25,000 for the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Showcases: administrative, marketing and sales skills.
• Reach Out Lakota: Launched prescription bottle recycle campaign to provide medication for residents of Lakota House, a shelter housing 75 homeless adults. Showcases: initiative, organizational, and project management abilities.
Resume gaps don’t have to be a black mark on your employment history. Having a strategy to address them through your resume and cover letter will help you market your skills and value to an employer.
By Chris Newsome